Friday, January 7, 2011

The Write Path

Happy New Year!!!!

Here we are only a week into 2011 and I’ve had an epiphany already. It appears I’ve been climbing the wrong mountain according to Kristen Lamb’s Blog, “Searching For Treasure the-Winner Inside.” Heck the title alone was inspiring. LOL Thanks Kristen! :)

Imagine my shock and horror to discover that for the past two years I’ve been chasing after the wrong goal. Oh, I still long to publish my work so others can read it, but the path in which I must travel to get there isn’t the path I’ve been on all this time.

I’ve struggled with my stories, trying to make them fit into the guidelines of what editors and agents want. I’ve stifled my creativity because, well, these stories just don’t fit the norm according to all those well meaning experts out there trying to find that special voice that will carry them away. We have specific rules for contests, rules for publishing houses like word count and genre, rules about sentence structure, rules about head hopping, rules on formatting, rules about rules. And you know what I’ve discovered? Every Best Selling author I’ve read recently breaks one or more of these rules at some point in their story. I know. I’ve heard it so many times I could scream. Established authors can do this. They don’t have to follow the same rules as aspiring authors.

Here’s my question. Why not? Do they know something we don’t? Like it’s all about writing a great story readers will fall in love with. Or write what you love? Or how about just write the darn story. Yes, grammar and punctuation are important as well as the flow and storyline. And word count does matter. But if my story ends up over a certain word count for a certain line, why do I have to go back and cut out bits and pieces or even scenes to make it fit. If it has an inspirational theme, why do I have to worry about how much contact my characters are allowed to have? I mean, I don’t write those heavy scenes, but love does play a big part in my stories. In real life, people do kiss, curse and talk in funny little rhymes. The magical part of writing for me is a stories abilitiy to evolve into so much more than I first imagined. Suprise me, please! :)

I’ve been worrying about all these rules to the point they stop me cold in my tracks. My muse throws up her hands in frustration and exits the building. I’m left staring into my computer screen at a wonderful story trying its best to emerge, but that just won’t make it under the guidelines set for me to follow.

But there is hope. I’ve found a light at the end of my tunnel. I’ve said it before. Today is the best time to be an author. Our options are endless. And I for one find that very liberating.

I will write. I will let my muse play any way she likes. And I will find a way to succeed.


Heather said...

You make an excellent point. Most of the authors who make it big do break the rules. I think it's all about finding the right agent at the right time. We have to write what we love and trust our muses like you said!

Melissa said...

Timing has alot to do with too, Heather. :) Wish there was an easy way to push all that self-doubt out of the picture and trust our instincts. But I really think if we are loving what we write it will make all the difference in the world.

Max said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Max said...

Okay, let me try again. Do I sense a change in the air? Hmmm...A light at the end of the tunnel...Do tell. ;-)

Izzy Herriette & Co. said...

Glad someone actually "said it'! You're an inspiration to those of us suffering the same thing. Getting ready to take the same steps that you've taken, after seven years of beating down the bushes on the way to a clearing. Yes, for the vision and the breath of air that comes from that liberation.

Melissa said...

Hi, Izzy! Best of luck to you on taking that next step. ;) It's been one heck of a learning curve for me. But I can honestly say, I have no second thoughts at this point. The air is so much better on this side. LOL